Planet Rugby



Debate intensifies over Lions TMO

20th March 2014 14:04


Andre Watson referee 2004

Former referee: André Watson

SARU General Manager of Referees, André Watson, has waded into the row surrounding a controversial Lions try last weekend.

Centre Deon van Rensburg appeared to lose control of the ball as he was tackled by the Blues' Charles Piutau during the Johannesburg-based side's 39-36 victory, with full-back Coenie van Wyk eventually grounding the ball in the in-goal area.

The try was awarded upon referral to the TMO, leaving the Blues seething. Earlier this week, SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray responded to the controversy by claiming in a statement the try should not have been awarded, as van Rensburg had knocked-on.

However, it appears Watson and the SARU disagree with Bray's assessment, and have asked the IRB to rule on the decision once and for all.

"I believe it was not a contentious issue from a refereeing point of view but rather from a law perspective. The knock-on law is very clear: a player needs to lose possession, with the ball then travelling in a forward direction," Watson told Sport24.

"However, the debate with regard to this specific incident revolves around whether the ball-carrier lost the ball or whether the ball was dislodged from his grasp as a result of the action of the tackler.

"While SANZAR have issued a statement saying the try should not have stood, we at SARU have referred the matter to the IRB and are awaiting a ruling. The debate is currently hanging in the air as two contrasting opinions currently exist."

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